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How To Wash Party Outfits

During party season, there’s no telling where the night will go! From spilled champagne to dance floor sweat stains, we’ve got all the expert-crafted solutions you need to stay polished, from cocktail party to dance floor. Read on to learn how to lift stains, banish odors, and wash fête-worthy fabrics like sequins, lace, silk, and velvet.

Start Here: Pretreat Stains & Odors

Before washing, always pretreat any stains according to stain type. Apply the liquid Stain Solution to protein and tannin stains, such as wine, coffee, ink, grass, urine, blood, and old, set-in stains such as pit stains. For dirt, grease, oil, and makeup, use the Holiday Wash & Stain Bar instead. Always massage in your stain pretreatment using our Stain Brush (gentle enough for even the most delicate of fabric types) to enhance the stain lifting power of your pre-treatment. Pro Tip: To remove heavy odor, presoak the item for 20-30 minutes in cool water mixed with ¼ cup of Scented Vinegar before laundering.


Shop Solutions: Stain Solution, Holiday Wash & Stain Bar, Stain Brush, Scented Vinegar

Sequins

Diamonds, who? When it comes to making a dazzling entrance, sequins are a party-goer’s best friend. These sparkling embellishments are typically made of plastic or metal, and add shine to garments of various materials. It’s important to identify the “base” fabric of your sequined garment before washing, and check any laundering directions in the garment tag. This will help to determine whether the item is washable, and if so, which of our concentrated, plant-based detergent formulas to use.


If the base fabric is made of wool, cashmere, or another natural fiber, wash using Wool & Cashmere Shampoo. If it is made of silk, synthetics like polyester or rayon, or a delicate cotton, launder using Delicate Wash. For blended fabrics, launder according to the most delicate fabric in the blend (for more info on blends, check out our blog about how to wash blends and mixed fabrics.) No matter the fabric, always hand launder sequined or embellished items in cold water for best preservation. Hand laundering is preferable over machine laundering because it allows for greater control over the garment, and will help to avoid agitation from the spin cycle which can cause sequins to tear or break off. If you’re strapped for time, machine wash with cold water and a delicate cycle, but first flip the garment inside out and insert into a Mesh Bag, which will act as a “bodyguard” for your sequins, preventing them from snagging or ripping in the drum of the machine.


Shop Solutions: Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, Delicate Wash, Mesh Bag

Sequined garments should be air dried for best results. Always lay the item flat in its natural shape to dry. To remove wrinkles after the item is dry, steam or mist with our wrinkle-removing Crease Release fabric spray. Never iron sequined garments. If the item is specifically tagged “do not wash” or if it is a very delicate vintage garment, it may be best to skip washing. For these items, gently spot treat stains and odors as needed with our Holiday Wash & Stain Bar and Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth, and steam the item while spritzing with Delicate Spray or Fabric Fresh Classic to remove unwanted odors.


Shop Solutions: Holiday Wash & Stain Bar, Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth, Crease Release, Delicate Spray, Fabric Fresh Classic

Velvet

Eye-catching velvet is a woven, tufted fabric that is traditionally made from silk, but also can be derived from cotton or synthetic fibers. While many velvet pieces can be easily laundered at home, some “do not wash” tagged items with heavy structure like blazers and suits are best cared for by spot treating stains and smells with our Holiday Wash & Stain Bar and Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth and steaming in combination with your favorite odor-lifting Fabric Fresh Classic spray. Check out our spot-treat recommendations for suits.

For washable velvet items, like blouses, skirts, and scarves, hand laundering is the best method for most velvet pieces, though some more durable, synthetic velvet items can be placed inside a Mesh Bag Bundle and machine washed on a delicate cycle. For either method, use 2-3 capfuls of our concentrated Delicate Wash formula, designed to preserve delicate fabrics while lifting perspiration and odors. Let soak for 30 minutes, then rinse before laying flat to dry.

To discourage stiffness during drying, always gently smooth out velvet by hand. Keep in mind velvet creases easily while drying, so lay flat or hang dry for best results. Brushing out with the Cashmere Brush can also help to soften a stiff air-dry finish, as will tossing the (already dry!) garment in the dryer for a few minutes on very low heat with Dryer Balls. Voila! Velvety soft.

Shop Solutions: Holiday Wash & Stain Bar, Lint-Free Cleaning Cloths, Delicate Spray, Mesh Bag Bundle, Delicate Wash, Cashmere Brush, Dryer Balls

Lace

Lace lends a romantic touch to any outfit, especially during the holiday party season when mistletoe boughs abound! Washing this intricately patterned fabric—most commonly made from silk, linen, or cotton threads—using the right methods is important for preservation, as lace can snag and tear quite easily.

After pre-treating stains and odors, wash your lace piece with cool water and 2-3 capfuls of Delicate Wash. If machine laundering, select a hand wash setting and place the garment inside a Mesh Bag to protect it during the spin cycle. If hand washing, gently swirl the water by hand to distribute the detergent, and let soak for 30 minutes before rinsing.

Lace undergarments with underwire or boning should always be hand laundered to preserve the integrity of the construction. When machine washing lace garments that do not have boning or underwire, take care not to wash them with anything that could snag or tear the lace, i.e. garments with zippers, buttons, or rough edges.

Whether machine or hand laundering, always air dry lace pieces. Smooth them by hand to prevent wrinkles, or mist with Crease Release.

Silk

This gossamer fabric, spun by silkworms, has an incredible natural sheen, takes well to dyes, and feels incredibly luxurious on the skin. It’s often tagged “dry clean only”, making it one of our most asked-about fabrics at The Laundress. Luckily, we formulated our stain treatments and Delicate Wash to be effective on sensitive fabrics like silk without causing damage!

Since silk is often richly dyed, it’s important to test the fabric before washing to prevent dye bleed. While silk itself is always washable, at times the dyes used or dyeing process can render the item unwashable. The “finish” of silk fabrics can also change when washed; for example, a smooth finish may become pebbled. Before laundering, follow the process for water testing silk fabric.

Most silk garments are best laundered by hand: Fill a Wash Tub Basin with cool water and 2-3 capfuls of Delicate Wash, and let the item soak for no more than 30 minutes before rinsing. Washable-tagged silk pieces - many standard silk pillowcases and silk pajamas fall into this category - can go in the machine. If machine laundering, be sure to select a cool, hand wash cycle, and protect garments using Mesh Bags.

Never, ever place silk pieces in the dryer. To avoid wrinkles while air drying, smooth pieces out by hand and dry inside out to improve their finish. Misting with Crease Release from 8-10 inches away can also help to lift wrinkles from damp or dry silk.

For items that cannot be laundered, lightly steam in combination with a few spritzes of Delicate Spray to lift odors and revive silk fabrics, infusing them with a light, citrus and herbal scent.

Shop Solutions: Delicate Wash, Wash Tub Basin, Mesh Bags, Crease Release, Delicate Spray

Blazers

When things get chilly, tossing on a chic blazer is the perfect way to add warmth and upgrade a party outfit without compromising on style. The reason most blazers are tagged “dry clean” is because of their construction - heavily boned and structured blazers simply shouldn’t be washed, since it can cause misalignment of the lining to the outer fabric and changes to the padding, fit, and finish of the garment. Blazers like these can be spot-treated and steamed to freshen and remove odors. We love using our Holiday Wash & Stain Bar to lift underarm odor, deodorant marks, and general dinginess from cuffs or collars. To do, work the bar into a lather using a damp Stain Brush, and apply to the targeted areas. Let sit for a few minutes before blotting away residue and odors using a clean, damp Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth. For overall freshening, gently steam while misting with Wool & Cashmere Spray. This fabric spray adds a touch of elegant, spiced cedar fragrance that’s great for preserving natural fabrics like wool.

Unlined, soft blazers in fabrics like jersey, synthetics, or cotton can be hand or machine laundered using Delicate Wash and cold water. If machine washing, select a hand wash setting and protect using a Mesh Bag. Always reshape and lay flat to dry for best results!


Shop Solutions: Holiday Wash & Stain Bar, Stain Brush, Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth, Wool & Cashmere Spray, Delicate Wash, Mesh Bag